Parents' Guide to

Gone Wolf

By Sun Cooper, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Creative dystopian genre bender has some violence.

Gone Wolf book cover: A Black girl is centered on cover in an artistic sketch; her curly hair is upswept around her face in swirls; a pair of pale translucent hands cover her eyes but she is looking straightforward through them; a pair of yellowed wolf eyes are below her neck and framed in blue fur and ears shaped like a dog

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This surprising genre bender is full of science fiction, dystopian elements, horror, and real history that bring Imogen's courage full circle. Gone Wolf's sci-fi style with the spareness of The Giver makes itself distinct by overlapping historical realties with dystopian ones until the reader realizes the two are not so different for Black communities. Author Amber McBride ambitiously and successfully incorporates historical events spanning the Middle Passage up through recent events like the murder of George Floyd and weaves in scenes of child confinement and indoctrination that could be pages torn out of the Native American residential schools era. This confronting of the harsh realities and legacies of White supremacy within an engaging dystopian middle grade narrative is truly impressive. The confusing adult world is seen through the clarity of a child's eyes with remarkable precision. Readers will be moved by Imogen's courage in the face of loss, injustice, and generational grief and inspired by the allies who come alongside her. Readers will cheer when Imogen "goes wolf," concluding with a moving poem on healing and freedom. This is a compelling book for middle grade readers and will provide much discussion for families and classrooms.

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